November 30, 2022

Chairs DeFazio and Payne, Jr. Commend House Vote to Avert a Catastrophic Rail Shutdown

Washington, D.C. – Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and Chair of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) issued the following statements after the House passed H.J. Res. 100 to impose the Railway Labor Tentative Agreement and also voted to add seven days of sick leave for railroaders to the agreement.

“I commend the House for making the difficult choice today to pass H.J. Res. 100, which will avert a railroad shutdown that would hurt millions of working people and families by causing a massive economic disruption,” Chair DeFazio said. “The freight railroads forced Congress to intervene when they failed to reach agreement on contracts with their workforce, but today’s vote will help ensure better pay and quality-of-life for railroads workers. I am particularly pleased the House approved my proposal to add seven paid sick days to the Tentative Agreement, which will help protect the health and wellbeing of the men and women who move the goods that make our country run. I urge the Senate to pass these resolutions without delay to give railroaders the pay and benefits they deserve and ensure American families can prosper this holiday season.” 

“I am proud to secure the right to paid sick leave and other benefits for America’s courageous rail workers,” Chairman Payne, Jr. said. “They fought throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, at great personal risk, to keep food and other essentials on store shelves nationwide and deserve to have these protections.

Railroads can afford adequate medical benefits for their employees, such as paid sick leave, and simply refused to do it. Instead, they would prefer them to work when sick, which endangers the health of their co-workers and increases the risk of potentially-fatal rail accidents.

That is why Congressional action was necessary. More than 30 percent of the nation’s freight is transported by rail and a shutdown would have created an economic catastrophe. Again, I am proud that my work to write, introduce and pass these bills to protect our critical railroad workers and prevent such a catastrophe. Now, rail workers can take the time they need to protect their health and the health of their colleagues without any concerns.”